Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development

The Programs For Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD) is an alliance of five programs with a shared value placed on urban sustainability—defined by the “triple bottom line” of environment, equity, and economy.

The five graduate Master of Science programs are:

Each of the five graduate programs maintains its independence, degree, and depth of study. Yet with the advice of Coordinators and Chairs, students can move between the five programs, with the further option to follow set tracks for specialized or multifaceted studies. Studios bring together students from all five graduate programs for interdisciplinary teamwork.

PSPD offers linkages to: the undergraduate Construction Management Program, with the opportunity to focus on real estate development; Brooklyn Law School, with opportunity for a joint Masters / Juris Doctor; and to a number of Pratt and civic partners, with opportunity to combine study and advocacy; action with reflection. These include the Pratt Center for Community Development, the Institute’s new technology and GIS center, SAVI,  and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, among others. 

The primary mission of the PSPD is to provide a professionally oriented education to a student body with diverse cultural, educational and professional backgrounds. The PSPD welcomes applicants with undergraduate degrees in a wide range of academic disciplines. In the application process, the PSPD values creativity, civic engagement and depth of experience, as well as intellectual capacity.

Environmental Sustainability

The Sustainable Environmental Systems program is entirely devoted to urban environmental policy and systems. “Green development” and LEED courses augment the Facilities Management Program curriculum. The Historic Preservation Program is already “greened,” as the most sustainable action is to preserve and reuse.


In this century as in the last, the major human force on our planet is migration to metropolitan areas; while the major challenge of the present and future is addressing climate change. Prior city planning values of aesthetics (as per the City Beautiful movement of the late 19th century) and new technology (as per the City Efficient movement of the mid 20th century) must now be augmented with a new city sustainable movement. The PSPD is especially committed to realizing this paradigm on the community as well as the citywide basis.

Social Equity and Economic Viability

True sustainability considers factors such as social justice and financial realities. Advocacy and participatory planning are core principles, further propelled by the Livable Cities and the Environmental Justice movements. Sustainability is not just a new set of technologies and standards; it is also a value system.

Professionalism and Internships

Relevant employment and internships are an important component of the PSPD’s educational approach. Students entering with work experience in a relevant field may earn credits through work experience/portfolio credit. Unpaid and paid internships are available, as is the opportunity to receive course credit for internships while in the program. The resulting variety of professional experiences enriches seminar discussions and studio teamwork, provides students with a wealth of contacts in the field, and strengthens their job qualifications. 

The resulting variety of professional experiences enriches seminar discussions and studio teamwork, provides students with a wealth of contacts in the field, and strengthens their job qualifications.


New York’s history, diversity, and international character offer a rich training ground for planners, preservationists, developers, and sustainability practitioners. Students graduate equipped with the technical know-how, collaborative skills, and critical thinking necessary to pursue professional careers and plan for environmental and social justice in urban places. Alumni play leading roles in a broad spectrum of jobs in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

 PSPD courses are offered in the evenings, except for the Historic Preservation Program’s courses, which are concentrated on two weekdays and evenings. 

This scheduling affords students maximum flexibility to work or intern, and affords the PSPD the ability to tap as faculty the region’s most accomplished professionals. These include the founders of community organizations, executives in development firms, New York City commissioners, political leaders, and more.

The PSPD strengthens the research credentials and sustainability values of the School of Architecture and Pratt Institute. In 2009-2010, for instance, the PSPD has been engaged to participate in the 2035 Sustainability Master Plan for Long Island, New York.

The PSPD frequently organizes lectures and conferences on urban issues. There is a weekly speaker series every spring and most falls. The PSPD also sponsors or co-sponsors events with national and international draw. Recent examples include: 

Recent examples are:

Sustainable Pratt

The PSPD is one of the founding members of Sustainable Pratt, an interdisciplinary committee of students, faculty, and staff. Sustainable Pratt facilitates awareness, communication and cross-departmental interaction about environmental sustainability.

Joint Degree in Law

Pratt Institute and Brooklyn Law School sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Master of Science in City and Regional Planning and Juris Doctor (J.D.). By taking full advantage of the PSPD’s alliance of programs, all PSPD students can further specialize in community development, environmental policy, preservation, or real estate. Students can also participate in Brooklyn Law’s Community Development Clinic, which represents community development corporations, cultural institutions and affordable housing providers that serve underrepresented communities.

The joint degrees can be earned in four to five years of full-time study—representing less time than if the two degrees were pursued independently. Students must apply and be accepted to both schools independently. Unlike the PSPD, Brooklyn Law does not admit students in spring; and prospective law students must take the LSAT. The joint degree can be pursued simultaneously, or sequentially so long as 15+ credits of the Pratt Masters degree are completed after matriculation at Brooklyn Law. In addition to the joint degree option, Pratt PSPD students may also choose from a variety of Brooklyn Law courses each semester.

Julie Sculli
Academic Services Coordinator
Brooklyn Law School

More information about this joint program can be found on the Brooklyn Law School website

Visiting Pratt

Facilities Management Program: 
Prospective Facilities Management students are always welcome to drop by on the first Tuesday of each month from 5–8 PM and meet the Chair at Pratt Manhattan Center, RSVP preferred, contact
Also feel free to directly contact the FM Chair: Harriet Markis,

City and Regional Planning, Historic Preservation, and Sustainable Environmental Systems:
PSPD's Brooklyn-based programs (City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Environmental Systems, and Historic Preservation) have an open house on the second Tuesday of every month. Arrive at Higgins Hall suite 206 north at 6 PM for an overview of the PSPD and meetings with the coordinators of each program based on your interest(s). Light refreshments with current students will be provided. You can also sit in on a class at 8 PM, or arrange to do so on another day. Higgins Hall is located at the corner of Lafayette Avenue and St. James Place in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, one block from the Clinton / Washington stop on the G subway line. Please RSVP to Adia Ware at and indicate your program(s) of interest.

These programs also have two Saturday Information Sessions per semester. Please visit this site for more information. For information about the Historic Preservation program contact Program Coordinator Nadya Nenadich at or at 718.399.4340.

Also feel free to contact and talk any of the professors listed below. 

Key Links

News, calendar, gallery, and information.  

Newsletters: MultipliCity is a student-run newsletter. Each issue generally focuses on a topic. In addition, there are articles on our inter-disciplinary studios and international courses. MultipliCity is the PSPD’s third generation of newsletters: the first two—STREET and The Pratt Planning Papers—were later transformed into the independent City Limits Magazine. Access the archives here.

Recovery Adaptation Mitigation Planning: RAMP is a summer program (though elements are year-long) focusing on disaster preparedness, resiliency, and how to rebuild better and stronger. The program includes studios, seminars, workshops, where our students join with professionals and local residents and advocates. It is linked to major research grants to work directly with community groups for advocacy and planning.  

Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative: SAVI is the Institute’s new GIS research lab and service center. It is functioning on a virtual basis until renovated space is made available in January. It is accepting applications now for its current planning and pro bono work, as well as for spring when fully operational.

List of fellowships and internships: Pratt enjoys a regular relationship with several civic and non-profit organizations with a citywide mission, representing over 30 positions altogether, which are associated with scholarships. These include the Pratt Center (described below), the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, Project for Public Spaces, the Center for Urban Pedagogy, and the Municipal Art Society. Pratt’s track record and connections are such that there are numerous other internship opportunities, which are also listed. 

Pratt Center for Community Development: The Pratt Center is one of the first and still exemplary university-based organizations dedicated to provided technical assistance to community organizations and addressing urban policy issues. The community development movement was essential born at the Pratt Center. Ron Shiffman, the Center’s first Executive Director (and still a professor in the CRP), received the nation’s top planning award for his role in founding the Pratt Center. Every year, five to fifteen PSPD students (mostly from the CRP) work as Fellows, interns, and staff at the Pratt Center.